The Top 40 Albums of May 2010!!!

Distant Relatives

May 2010 has been a fruitful month for music. Reggae, country, jazz, and rock music have been well represented. The Junior Gong aka Damian Marleydropped his long anticipated album Distant Relatives with rap legend Nas. The album features reggae, sick African beats, hip-hop, and spot on guest appearances by k’naan and Lil Wayne.

On the country side, Texan outlaw Willie Nelson strikes again with Country Music and Merle Haggard makes one of his best records in recent memory with the album I Am What I Am (Amazon Exclusive Version). And the Preservation Hall Jazz Band made an amazing album An Album To Benefit Preservation Hall & The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program (Deluxe Version) with guests like Louis Armstrong, Andrew BirdSteve Earleand Jim James aka Yim Yames from My Morning Jacket. And on the rock scene, new albums from Cornershop, LCD Soundsystem, and Broken Social Scene add balance to a nice month in music.

From Latin rappers Cypress Hill to African drummer Tony Allen (part of Fela Kuti‘s legendary band) to Texan musicians Court Yard Hounds(part of the Dixie Chicks) this months selection is diverse and full of wonderful sounds. Here are the Top 40 albums of May…

The Best of May 2010

  1. Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley & NasDistant Relatives [Universal 2010]
  2. Merle Haggard I Am What I Am [Vanguard Records 2010]
  3. Willie Nelson Country Music [Rounder 2010]
  4. Various ArtistsAn Album To Benefit Preservation Hall & The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program [Preservation Hall Recording 2010]
  5. Toots & the MaytalsFlip and Twist [D and F Music 2010]
  6. Jakob Dylan Women And Country [Columbia 2010]
  7. Tony Allen Secret Agent [Nonesuch Records 2010]
  8. Cornershop Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast [Ample Play Recordings 2010]
  9. Peter Wolf Midnight Souvenirs [Verve 2010]
  10. The PhysicsFuture Talk [The Physics 2007]
  11. Pretty LightsMaking Up A Changing Mind [Pretty Lights Music 2010]
  12. V.V. BrownTravelling Like The Light [Capitol 2010]
  13. Winston JarrettBushwhackers Gangbangers [Bigmore Productions 2010]
  14. Various Artists Something Old, Something New, Volume 5 [Penthouse Records 2010]
  15. Various Artists Big Stage Riddim [Penthouse Records 2010]
  16. Very Be Careful Escape Room [Barbes Records 2010]
  17. Various ArtistsSpecial Request, Volume 3 [Penthouse Records 2010]
  18. Mulatu Astatke Mulatu Steps Ahead [Strut Records 2010]
  19. Dr. DogShame Shame [Anti 2010]
  20. Radar Bros. The Illustrated Garden [Merge Records 2010]
  21. The Apples in Stereo Travellers In Space And Time [Yep Roc Records 2010]
  22. MGMTCongratulations [Sony 2010]
  23. Court Yard Hounds Court Yard Hounds [Columbia 2010]
  24. Caribou Swim [Merge Records 2010]
  25. LCD Soundsystem This Is Happening [Virgin Records 2010]
  26. Broken Social Scene Forgiveness Rock Record [Arts & Crafts Records 2010]
  27. The Kissaway Trail Sleep Mountain [Bella Union 2010]
  28. Passion Pit Manners [Columbia Records 2010]
  29. The Hold Steady Heaven Is Whenever [Vagrant Records 2010]
  30. Various ArtistsJoe Gibbs 12” Disco Showcase Volume 4 [VP Records 2010]
  31. The Dead Weather Sea Of Cowards [Third Man 2010]
  32. Gogol BordelloTrans-Continental Hustle [American Recordings 2010]
  33. Cypress HillRise Up [Priority Records]
  34. Solomon BurkeNothing’s Impossible [E1 Music 2010]
  35. GinjahNever Lost My Way [Digital Release 2010]
  36. Alan Jackson – Freight Train [Arista 2010]
  37. Judgement Day Peacocks / Pink Monsters [Judgement Day 2010]
  38. The RaftersAnimal Feelings [Asthmatic Kitty Records 2010]
  39. Jeff Beck Emotion & Commotion [Atco/Rhino 2010]
  40. SlashSlash [Dik Hayd 2010]
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The Top 40 Albums of May 2010!!!

The World of Reggae Music Collection–Dub Reggae: Classic Dub

Classic Dub

Drums and Bass dominate in this edition of the World of Reggae Music Collection.  The selector explores the classic dub hits of Reggae Music. King Tubby, Lee Perry & The Upsetters, Scientist, Sly & Robbie, and Prince Jammy, the professionals of dub, found that the kids at the dancehalls and sound systems went wild for instrumental versions of tunes laced with echoes and other effects. Great musicians often soloed over the versions, such as saxophonist Tommy McCook and keyboardist/melodica player Augustus Pablo. This compilation of dub tracks includes some of the great reggae bands Roots Radics, The Upsetters, the Observers, The Aggrovators, Soul Syndicate, and The Dub Syndicate.

King Tubby & Roots Radics King Tubby’s Explosion

Gregory IsaacsPublic Eyes

Scientist – Dub Of The Traveller

The Aggrovators – Dancing Version

Tommy McCook & the Aggrovators – A Dancing Version

Sly & Robbie Jah Jah Man

The Aggrovators – Calley Version

Augustus Pablo Lama Lava

Keith HudsonMelody Maker

King Tubby & Soul Syndicate – Great Stone

Gregory Isaacs All Stars Reform Institute

Tommy McCook Lambs Bread

Augustus Pablo & the Simplicity People – K.G.s Half Way Tree

Sly & RobbieRizla

Roots Radics Storming The Death Star

The Aggrovators – A Crabbit Version

Mad Professor River Niger

Augustus Pablo – Too Late

Sly & The Revolutionaries Cocaine

King Tubby & Roots Radics – Banana & Yam Skank

G.G. All Stars Love Of Jah Jah Children

Prince Jammy – Martian Encounter

Scientist – Miss Know It All

Mad Professor & Jah Shaka – Ecological Dub

The ObserversTurntable Dub

Tenor Saw – Praise Jah With Dub

The UpsettersDub So

Tommy McCook & the Aggrovators The Gorgon Of Dubs & Horns

King TubbyPocket Money Dub

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Bob Marley & the WailersMan To Man (Dub Version)

The AggrovatorsDub On My Pillow

Sly & Robbie Crazy Baldhead

Black Uhuru, Sly & Robbie – Mystic Mix

The Observers – Rasta Locks

ScientistScientist Ganja Dub

Augusts Pablo – Organ Style

Joe White Ganja

Blackbeard All-StarsBridgeport Dub

The UpsettersDub Dat

King Tubby & Roots Radics – Country Gal Dub

Roots Radics BandMission Impossible

Prince Far I – Prince of Peace

The UpsettersLong Time

King Tubby & Roots Radics – King Tubby’s Hi-Fi Dub

Gregory IsaacsSlum

Ras Michael & The Sons of Negus – None A Jah Jah Children

The Obervers – Dubbing With The Observer

The SilvertonesAfrican Dub

Sanchez – Come To Rule Dub

Roots Radics Band The Alien Aborts

Niney The Observer – All Rounder Dub

King TubbyKing Tubby’s Conversation

Sly & RobbieSly & Robbie, The Kings Of Dub

Prince Jammy – A Useful Version

Bob Marley & the WailersOne Dub

Tommy McCook & the Aggrovators A Gigantic Dub

Augustus PabloKing Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown

Gregory Isaacs Leggo Beast

The Aggrovators – Real Gone Crazy Dub

Thompson All Stars – Rock Me In Dub

Rupie Edwards – Feeling High

Joe Gibbs & the Professionals Stonewall Jackson

Lloyds All-StarsDread Dub

King Tubby & Roots Radics – Hungry Belly Dub

Tommy McCook & the AggrovatorsA Version I Can Feel

Scientist – King Pharaoh Dub

Roots RadicsThe Son Of Darth Vader

Mighty TwoHully Gully Rock

The Wailing Souls Bredda Gravalicious

Niney & the Soul Syndicate – Couchie Dub

Lee “Scratch” Perry & King TubbyRainy Night Dub

Black Uhuru, Sly & Robbie – African Culture

The Upsetters – Oh Me Oh Dub

Black Uhuru – Painful Dub

King Tubby – King Tubby’s Badness Dub

Lee “Scratch” Perry – Satan Dub

Black Uhuru, Sly & Robbie – Weeping Willow

21st Century Dub – Beggars Suite Pt. I, II, III

Velvet Shadow – Dubbin and Wailin

Roots Radics – Joy To The World Dub

NEED

Augustus Pablo – To Be A Lover in Dub

Horace Andy – Government Dub

Sly & Robbie – Unmetered Taxi

Dub Syndicate – King of Sounds

Manasseh – Levi Rhythm (Dub)

The World of Reggae Music Collection–Dub Reggae: Classic Dub

Top Albums of December 2009

Top Albums of December 2009

This month saw the return of the “Cool Ruler” Gregory Isaacs with his new album Brand New Me. And on the Texas side of things Norah Jones released The Fall.

  1. Gregory IsaacsBrand New Me [Tad’s Records 2009]
  2. Norah JonesThe Fall [Blue Note 2009]
  3. Various ArtistsKGSR Broadcast Volume 17 [2009]
  4. Bost & Bim – The Bombing: The Very Best of Bost & Bim [Bombist 2009]
  5. Brother Ali Us [Rhymesayers 2009]
  6. The Senior All StarsHazard [Skycab 2009]
  7. Chezidek I Grade [Tabou Records 2009]
  8. Kiddus I Rocking Rebel [2009]
  9. Various Artists Strictly The Best Vol. 40 [VP Records 2009]
  10. BlackrocBlakroc [Blackroc Project 2009]
  11. Various Artists Strictly The Best Vol. 41 [VP Records 2009]
  12. Various Artists Joe Gibbs 12 Inch Reggae Disco Mixes, Volume 3 [17 North Parade 2009]
  13. Various Artists – Joe Gibbs 12 Inch Reggae Disco Mixes, Volume 1 [17 North Parade 2009]
  14. Various Artists – Joe Gibbs 12 Inch Reggae Disco Mixes, Volume 2 [17 North Parade 2009]
  15. Black Sheep DresFrom The Black Pool Of Genius: The Prelude [Bum Rush/T-Stylz Wreck 2009]
  16. Guy Clark Somedays The Song Writes You [Dualtone 2009]
  17. Various ArtistsStrange Things Riddim [Ire Ites 2009]
  18. Gift of GabEscape 2 Mars [Cornerstone Ras 2009]
  19. Junior DanReggae Road Map [Hi-Try 2009]
  20. Various Artists Sugar Riddim [Sugar 2009]
Top Albums of December 2009

World of Reggae Music Collection–Roots and Culture: Political Reggae

The World of Reggae Music Collection: Roots and Cultrue Political Reggae Often reggae carries a strong political message wrapped inside its intoxicating vibes. Reggae superstars Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, Yellowman, Eek-A-Mouse, and Bob Marley and The Wailers have a broad knowledge of the plight of the poor people around the world. In turn these reggae artists have fashioned brilliant protest songs that bring attention to international social injustice. From Jimmy Cliff’sVietnam” to Ziggy Marley And The Melody Makersperforming “Namibia” decades of reggae artists have expressed their political viewpoints through music. One of my favorite American musicians that often drenches his original music in reggae sounds, Michael Franti, leads the California-based band Spearhead with hard-hitting lyrics. His message of love trumps the political message, but his songs are filled with deep knowledge of social, economic, and political issues. Micheal Franti & Spearhead are a must in this edition of Roots and Culture. From modern dancehall artists like Busy SignalMavado, I-Wayne, Perfect, Sizzla, and Alborosie to the classic reggae bands like the The Mighty Diamonds, Steel Pulse, and Black Uhuruthe mainstream political worldview often comes into question in these great reggae tracks. And there were strong positive-minded individuals from Jamaica like Hugh Mundell and Jacob Miller that pointed out the of the hypocrisies of these bad-minded politicians. Some reggae artists even called for social revolution in their music. Peter Tosh said it best in his song “Equal Rights” “I don’t want no peace. I want equal rights and justice. Gotta to get it. Equal rights and justice.”

Jimmy Cliff Vietnam

YellowmanLeave Iraq Alone

Bob Marley and the WailersZimbabwe

Peter Tosh Equal Rights

Michael Franti and Spearhead Crime To Be Broke In America

Dennis Brown – Revolution, Pt. 1

Gregory Isaacs & the UpsettersMr. Cop

Eek-A-Mouse – Politics

Bob Marley & the Wailers – I Shot The Sheriff

Horace Andy – Materialist

Horace Andy – Poor Man Style

Cocoa Tea – Barack Obama

Tony Rebel – I Can’t Recall

Yellowman – CNN News

Gregory Isaacs, Soul Syndicate, & the Heptones – Black a Kill Black

Burro Banton & Cornell Campbell – Pressure

Michael Franti & SpearheadTime To Go Home

Black Uhuru – Youth Of Eglington

Black Uhuru – Youth (Dub)

Steel Pulse – No Justice No Peace

Cutty Ranks – New World Order

Brooklyn Jungle Soundsystem – Kulture (Dubmatix Rub-A-Dub Revival Remix)

Jacob MillerRoman Soldiers Of Babylon

Steel Pulse – Taxi Driver

Alborosie – America

Desmond Dekker – Problems

Horace Andy – Leave Rasta

Black Uhuru – General Penitentiary

Busy Signal – Running From The Law

Snoop Lion & Akon – Tired of Running

Esco Levi – Bleaching Shop

Cocoa Tea – Oil Ting

Alborosie – Tax War

Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers – We Propose

Lucky Dube – Soldier

Manu Chao –  Politick Kills

Steel Pulse Global Warning

Michael Franti & Spearhead – Yell Fire!

Alpha BlondyApartheid Is Nazism

Barrington Levy – Mandela Free

Alborosie – Police

Snoop Lion & Cori B – No Guns Allowed

Raging Fyah – World Crisis

Cocoa Tea – Mr. Neck Tie Man

Lucky Dube – Victims

Gentleman – It No Pretty

Steel Pulse – Tribute to the Martyrs

Alborosie – Global War

Cocoa Tea – Moving On

Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers – Namibia

Jimmy Cliff – Children’s Bread

J Boog – Change Up Your Evil Ways

Steel Pulse – Earth Crisis

Alborosie – What If Jamaica

Cocoa Tea – Zeeks

Steel Pulse – Black and Proud

Marshel – New World Order

Alborosie – Games

Joe Higgs – Wave Of War

NEED

Papa LeviBush & Blair

I-WaynePolitics And Religion

YellowmanAids

Mavado – We Need Barack

Hugh Mundell Africa Must Be Free By 1983

Big YouthPolitical Confusion

Busy Signal Politics

Black UhuruSolidarity

Ranking Trevor & Wailing Souls – War

Perfect – Hanging Day

Bushman – World State

Admiral Bailey Politician

Hugh MundellRun Revolution A Come

Junior DelgadoHypo

Buju Banton – Immigration Law

No 1 Station – Bush War

Sugar Minott Nah Go To South Africa

Bushman World Crisis

Israel Vibration Racial Discrimination

SizzlaBlack Man In The White House

Israel VibrationNatty Dread

Jacob MillerJolly Joseph

The Mighty Diamonds, Suga Roy, & Conrad CrystalPolice And Bad Boy Strap

SizzlaThe Solution

Sugar MinottNah Follow Fashion

Buju BantonPolitics Time Again

Cocoa TeaBuju

Horace Andy – No Love in the City

Horace Andy – Problems

Peter Tosh – Fire Fire Babylon Burning

The Royals – Sufferer of the Ghetto

Jah Lion – Soldier and Police War

Barry Brown – Politician

Cultural Roots – Thieves, Liars, and Criminals

The Valentines – Stop the Violence

Gregory Isaacs – Lonely Soldier

Joe Gibbs & the Professionals – State of Emergency

Garnett Silk – Cry of my People

Jah Lloyd – Soldier Round the Corner

Max Romeo – Public Enemy Number One

Ranking Joe – Back Wey You Vulutres

Welton Irie – Ghettoman Corner

John Wayne – Call the Police

Scientist – Mass Murder and Corruption

Romain VirgoGhetto

LorenzoGun Play

KonshensWar Straight

Perfect – Amerimaka

Dillinger – Buckingham Palace

Peter Metro – Police in England

Lucky Dube – Political Games

Barrington Levy – Soldier

Culture – World Peace

World of Reggae Music Collection–Roots and Culture: Political Reggae

The Best of April 2009!!!

The Best of April 2009!!!

1. Graham Wilkinson & the Underground TownshipYearbook [Township Records 2009]
2. K’NaanTroubadour [Octone Records 2009]
3. Buju BantonRasta Got Soul [Gargamel 2009]
4. Bob Dylan Together Through Life [Columbia 2009]
5. CunninlynguistsStrange Journey Volume One [QNS 2009]
6. J.J. Cale Roll On [Rounder 2009]
7. B RealSmoke and Mirrors [Duck Down 2009]
8. Jah CureThe Universal Cure [SoBe 2009]
9. Souls of Mischief Tour Stories [Hieroglyphics Imporium 2009]
10. JahmaliEl Shaddai [Penthouse 2009]
11. Various ArtistsEvolution Dub Volume 1: The Origin of the Species [Greensleeves 2009]
12. Various ArtistsEvolution Dub Volume 2: The Great Leap Forward [Greensleeves 2009]
13. SizzlaGhetto Youthology [Greensleeves 2009]
14. Bitty McLeanMovin On [Taxi 2009]
15. John Brown’s BodyRe-Amplify [Easy Star Records 2009]

Graham Wilkinson and the Underground Township released a new album on Township Records, Yearbook, this month that brings the best of Texas roots music to the fore. Graham Wilkinson has proven himself not only as a songwriter but also as an arranger. Some of the songs on this album come from earlier albums but here they are arranged in new and lovely ways. On the track “Ragamuffin,” Hayes Carll lends his voice and Lloyd Maines plays his pedal-steel guitar. “Let It Go” stands out as an americana roots jam and “La Briza” casts an easy groovy spell. “Boys and Girls” is a reggafied track that has a ska sound.  On the strings laden “Ghosts,” a previously unreleased track,  Alejandro Esovedo adds his voice to this rock n’ roll piece of art. Graham Wilkinson and the Underground Township and the boys at Township Records, including producer and bassist Wayne Dalchau, have done it again. And this time the album artwork and concept of the Yearbook make it worth getting the hard copy of this album. Get the digital album if need be but the artwork and music make this album a tangible item one needs to hold, see, listen, and appreciate. Like the old days before the digital single this album harkens back to the good old days of the concept album. This album, Yearbook, captures a year of creativity, music, and Austin vibes.

K’Naan the Somalian rapper dropped sweltering rhymes over fat beats on his new album Troubadour. The track “I Come Prepared” with Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley stands out as a powerful song and the track “ABC’s” with Chubb Rock is slamming. Chali 2Na Fish, Mos Def, and Adam Levine also co-star on this album. But K’Naan shines on solo tracks too. The track “T.I.A.,” which stand for “This Is Africa,” samples Bob Marley & the Wailers’ “Simmer Down” with heavy bass drops chopping the old rhythm into a new dancehall beat. The Somalian rapper shows his softer side on ballads like “Wavin’ Flag” and “Take A Minute.” I am looking forward to seeing the live show.

The Best of April 2009!!!

Jam-Tex Top 10 Albums: August 2008

1. Cutty RanksReggae Anthology: Limb By Limb [VP Records 2008]
2. SeraniThe Future (Doh!) [2008]
3. Girl TalkFeed the Animals [Illegal Art 2008]
4. Randy NewmanHarps and Angels [Nonesuch 2008]
5. Joe Gibbs & Errol Thompson – Reggae Anthology: Scorchers from the Mighty Two [VP Records 2008]
6. Randy TravisAround the Bend [Warner Brothers 2008]
7. Eleven Hundred SpringsCountry Jam [Palo Duro Records 2008]
8. CultureCulture & the DeeJay’s at Joe Gibbss [VP Records 2008]
9. Old 97’s Blame It on Gravity [New West 2008]
10. Luke Doucet Blood’s Too Rich [Six Shooter Records 2008]

Cutty Ranks, the original dancehall ragamuffin, slays deejays with his rough, raw, and precise rhymes on songs like “A Who Seh Me Dun,” “Gunman Lyrics,” “Stopper,” and “Limb by Limb.” But also the boss deejay turns out to be quite the lady killer, toasting over reggae crooners, such as Dennis Brown, Marcia Griffiths, Beres Hammond, and Wayne Wonder, and making panties wet from Oisten, Barbados to Austin, Texas.

On a trip to Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines I found myself listening to the new dancehall sensation Serani. His album The Future (Doh!) assembles some of the newest hits, including “She Loves Me” and “Doh” featuring ragga general Bugle. Since I was with my lady I found the song “She Loves Me” perfectly sensual for afternoon romps. Jah blessed Young Island on St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Serani and the sunset made for a perfect romantic setting. Serani played on the local radio stations in the Caribbean, blazing up digicel’s hot caribbean 30, but also country music emanated from the radios in the Grenadines. Randy Travis was a favorite among local sail boat captains and cooks. Truly country music is global and the people of the Caribbean respect its soulful sounds.

Singer-songwriter Randy Newman took time off from producing timeless movie soundtracks to drop a new album and to unleash a timeless criticism of the current administration. Newman sings in “A Few Words in Defense of Our Country:”

A President once said,
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”
Now it seems like we’re supposed to be afraid
It’s patriotic in fact and color coded
And what are we supposed to be afraid of?
Why, of being afraid
That’s what terror means, doesn’t it?
That’s what it used to mean

And then Newman brings it home:

The end of an empire is messy at best
And this empire is ending
Like all the rest
Like the Spanish Armada adrift on the sea
We’re adrift in the land of the brave
And the home of the free

Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.

Randy Newman you have got a friend in me!

Jam-Tex Top 10 Albums: August 2008